“Transformation & Tradition” is the theme for this year’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which will gather together both artists and thinkers “who have drawn from the past in order to imagine the future in ways that are startling, bold, and exciting,” according to the event’s organizers.
Taking place in New Haven and at various Yale sites over 15 days from June 14 to June 28, the festival will feature the U.S. premiere of David Greig’s play “The Events,” the off-Broadway hit “Traces” by the Montreal-based circus company 7 Fingers, and jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves in a concert with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, among other events.
“We’re looking forward to another year of serious fun this June,” says the festival’s executive director, Mary Lou Aleskie. “From our signature concerts on the New Haven Green that take advantage of beautiful summer evenings, to the work of artists and thinkers presented on our stages, this is a festival that speaks to the core of what we do best: engaging serious work that is entertaining and a whole lot of fun.”
The 2014 festival once again features its signature mix of “great art and big ideas,” presented with a focus on engaging the entire community through workshops, talks, and context activities. Of the scheduled events, 85% are free of charge. Highlights include five free headline concerts on the New Haven Green; 11 ticketed events from major international artists and performers; 15 conversations and lectures; and more than 50 interactive tours, master classes, and activities exploring the vibrancy of the New Haven region.
Aleskie says of the festival’s theme: “Many of this year’s events reflect on foundational traditions and origins — Regina Carter with her Southern musical roots, Montreal circus company Les 7 doigts de la main to the culture of streets in ‘Traces,’ and even the downtown New York theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service looking at verbatim Supreme Court texts for inspirations. These incredible artists have transformed those traditions into profound and exciting new work.”
Just some of the festival events include:
• Vocalist and pianist Lalah Hathaway with special guest and “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard on June 14;
• Singer Martha Redbone performing a collection of William Blake poems to her own music rooted in the traditions of Appalachia as part of her Roots Project on June 15;
• Reeves and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra on June 21;
• Grammy Award-nominated country songwriter Brandy Clark singing songs from her debut album “12 Stories” on June 22;
• the ensemble La Santa Cecilia, winner of a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock Album, performing its Pan-American rhythms on June 28;
• 7 Fingers’s production of “Traces” on June 24-28;
• Grieg’s play “The Events,” directed by Ramin Gray with music by John Browne and featuring six Connecticut choirs, June 24-28;
• performances by Elevator Repair Service exploring the drama emerging from Supreme Court oral arguments in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, a 1991 First Amendment case brought by a group of erotic dancers and the proprietors of the Kitty Kat Lounge in Indiana, June 18-June 22;
• Regina Carter’s performance, “Southern Comfort,” on June 17; and
• the Irish & American folk group The Gloaming on June 19.
Other events include a performance by the Yale Choral Artists; open rehearsal readings for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre; and talks that explore topics ranging from the First Amendment to the musical heritage of the American South to sports. Walking and bike tours, visits to New Haven restaurants, and gallery tours of Yale and New Haven museums are also offered during the festival.
A full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s website, where tickets to select events can also be purchased.